Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms based on maximum widespread, has made its way to the Philippines. It is expected to produce a potentially deadly storm surge.
Strongest typhoon of the year
The category five storm, known in the Philippines as Super Typhoon Yolanda, had estimated sustained winds of up to 146 mph.
The national weather service said the storm’s power was centered in the country’s Eastern Samar province, town of Guiuan.
Schools and offices have reportedly been closed in the region and thousands of residents flee amid fears of serious damage.
Haiyan is capable of causing “catastrophic damage” in the central Philippines, according to meteorology director of Weather Ground Jeff Masters, and its outer bands are already starting to affect the country.
Local authorities reported having troubles reaching officials in Guiuan, a town of 47,000.
Southern Leyte governor Roger Mercado said that fallen trees were already blocking highways, hampering relief efforts.
In its path are cities already struggling to recover from the recent 7.3-magnitude earthquake in October, including the worst damage island of Bohol.
The military says it is delivering food packages and relief goods to remote areas, and has helicopters on standby.